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Family's Donation Supports Music Program at Utah State University

Thursday, Sep. 07, 2006

David and Amie Dunkley

David and Amie Dunkleys' generous gift provides a new look for the USU Marching Band.

Marching Band logo

A new logo for the USU Marching Band was designed for the uniforms.

Music and the arts have been the pulse of life for David and Amie Dunkley as long as they can remember. David grew up in a home where music not only provided respite and structure, but was also the core of the family business. Amie’s perspective was shaped by the rigorous grace of ballet, with its attendant lessons in excellence.

Hard work, dedication, commitment: the Dunkleys fully appreciate what success in the arts — and in life — requires. And that is precisely why the young couple wanted to reach out to Utah State University’s new generation of performers.
Recently, the Dunkleys made a significant gift to the Manon Caine Russell Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall, and another generous gift of $150,000 to the USU marching band for new uniforms and instruments.
“It started off with the Performance Hall,” David Dunkley said. “We were able to participate in that project and that made a lot of sense to us. That was a lot of fun for us. After that, we really just asked where there was a need in the music department and discovered that we could perhaps make a difference in the band.”
Bruce Saperston, music department head in USU’s Caine School of the Arts, said the Dunkleys’ vision will indeed make a difference immediately, but that the couple has also created something to be celebrated at the university for years to come.
“The Dunkleys’ extremely generous gift of a new look for our marching band, along with many needed instruments, not only provides a major boost to Aggie pride but assists the department in recruiting excellent wind and percussion students who perform in all our ensembles,” Saperston said.
Thomas Rohrer, director of bands in the department of music at USU, said the new uniforms and equipment will propel the bands into “what we hope is a new and greater chapter in our existence.”
Amie Dunkley, who David called the driving force behind the gifts, said the couple specifically sought an opportunity to infuse excitement into programs that would appreciate their attention. But she also saw a way to leave a tangible legacy to her own family and to her community.
“We have a son who is taking piano right now,” Amie Dunkley said. “To have something like the Performance Hall available to him, where he can see world-class performers and realize that’s something he could himself do and become — there is just no substitute for those types of experiences. And new uniforms will make band members feel more confident. There’s something about looking your best that translates into being your best as a performer. From a mom’s point-of-view, supporting these programs makes all the sense in the world.”
Gary Kiger, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at USU, said the Dunkleys’ contributions play an important part in developing programs in the college and the Caine School of the Arts.
“The Aggie Marching Band and its visual presence with new uniforms are an integral part of Utah State University and contribute mightily to Aggie pride among our students and all USU Aggies,” Kiger said. “This important gift from David and Amie Dunkley allows us to appreciate not only the outstanding sounds of the Aggie Marching Band but its new look as well as it represents the public face of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and Utah State University.”
The Dunkleys will be honored at halftime of the USU-Utah football game Sept. 16. The band’s new uniforms will be in the spotlight that day as well. Those activities and others are part of Old Main Weekend, which pays tribute to those who have financially supported the university. For a full listing of the weekend’s activities, see the related highlight in Utah State Today.
An additional feature story provides details on the new Marching Band uniforms.
Contact: Cecile Gilmer (435) 797-0178,
Source: USU’s Benefactor Newsletter, contact Jared Thayne (435) 797-1153,

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